How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
The milk teeth are less mineralized, there is less protection of the dentin and the pulp is broader, which makes infants more vulnerable to cavities that´s why it is important to prevent cavities in children under 5 years old.
Why is it important to prevent cavities?
Cavities are an infectious disease that can be prevented. The impact of cavities are multiple and eventually severe. It can start with a painful episode, local swelling, acute complications or long-term hospitalizations. The worst thing is that a child with cavities is more likely to suffer with cavities in his/her adult age and they may have to undergo multiple restorations in their definite teeth.
Can cavities be prevented?
The infectious agents most commonly involved are the Streptococcus mutants and Lactobacillus that because they feed on sugar create an acidic environment in the mouth that can demineralize tooth enamel. The decaying process can be stopped if you act early before cavities are formed requiring more complex treatments.
When should we begin to address a child´s oral health?
Even before the baby is born, the future mother can start the prevention process by focusing on her own dental health. The state of a mother´s mouth is a key factor in predicting future cavities in a child. Parents interested in the oral health of their baby should try to avoid the transmission of saliva, and in the event of pacifier use, opt for a more anatomical design. In fact, the earlier the bacterial colonization in a baby´s mouth, the greater the risk of cavities. In this sense, it would be advisable to avoid the transfer of bacteria by avoiding kisses in the mouth, sharing spoons, cleaning a pacifier with your own saliva.
In addition , during the first few months of life it is crucial to avoid the use of the baby´s bottle when a child is sleeping. Instead, early oral hygiene habits should be implemented, passing wet gauze on the gums to remove food debris.
And when do the teeth appear?
Some infants are clearly irritable and show signs of discomfort, they drool profusely, and their stools are soft when teeth show signs of erupting. Sometimes they can even get a temperature and may require another remedy. Others, on the other hand, wake up with a new tooth, without having experienced no eating or sleeping in a single day. Of course, once the teeth have emerged, they can be cleaned one or two times a day with small gauze or an infant toothbrush.
When the child has reached two, the baby bottle has become history, and the time will have to come to get rid of the pacifier if it is still present in the baby´s life. Children with low risk of tooth decay can play with your toothbrush to imitate adults or older siblings but without toothpaste. If the dentist feels that the risk is higher you can use a floriated toothpaste of 1000 parts per million, but with a limited amount of toothpaste. While the children are learning it is up to the parents to oversee the task of proper brushing.
Between the ages of three and five years a child must be taught the correct technique for brushing the 20 teeth using only the equivalent of a pea of floriated toothpaste with 1000-1450 ppm, once the child has learnt to spit.